Having successfully wrung a settlement out of Harris County in the Ibarra case – making a nice piece of change in the process – you’d think Lloyd Kelley would be done making headlines for awhile. You’d be wrong about that.
The lawyer who brought down District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal is setting his sights on Sheriff Tommy Thomas.
Rosenthal’s demise came from deleting more than 2,000 e-mails after being ordered by a federal judge to produce them. Attorney Lloyd Kelley had sought the e-mails in connection with a suit that accused five of Thomas’ deputies of violating the civil rights of two brothers.
Thomas was a defendant in that case because of the deputies were his employees. But now Kelley says he’s researching a lawsuit based on the sheriff’s own actions.
“He took (county jail) prisoners apparently and used them to build his fence out at his ranch,” Kelley said, referring to Thomas’ 80-acre ranch in Colorado County.
The allegation is similar to those that aired on Channel 13 by Wayne Dolcefino. But Kelley said he has been approached by a former inmate who did not talk to Dolcefino.
“He has very detailed information,” Kelley said of the former inmate.
Kelley said such private use of prisoners for private service is illegal and may even violate a Supreme Court slavery ruling.
He said he has some more research to do, but expects to file the suit “before long.”
“The slavery lawsuit will probably go forward,” he said.
Remember how I said Adrian Garcia would have plenty of ammunition in his campaign for Sheriff? This won’t hurt him any, either. Given what we know Kelley can dig up, this ought to be a doozy.